It must be somebody British and noteworthy in the field of visual arts.
At the end of this post
- I'm making my own suggestions
- I'm asking you who YOU think might be an appropriate person to represent visual arts in Britain.
Members of the public will have two months to nominate people of historic significance from the visual arts including artists, sculptors, printmakers, designers, craftspeople, ceramicists, architects, fashion designers, photographers and filmmakers – whose work shaped British thought, innovation, leadership, values and society. The public can nominate characters from within the field of visual arts on the Bank’s website.It's important to note that the Bank will
- NOT represent living characters on its notes, with the exception of the Monarch.
- NOT identify individuals who would be unduly divisive
- ONLY include a recognisable and usable representation of an individual within a banknote design. This is because banknotes are designed to be easy to authenticate and difficult to counterfeit.
Note about the processBack at the end of 2013, the Bank of England decided that the public should have much more involvement in the choice of people to include on banknotes.
CommentaryFor some reason, Jonathan Jones of the Guardian has once again been told or has chosen to be controversial (others would call it downright rude!) in Should the public vote for the artist on the new £20 note? No way – they've got terrible taste. He's decided that "the people" cannot be trusted to vote because too few do and it is then too easy to sway the vote.
I think he's got it badly wrong. This is not an art competition, nor is it a taste competition!
It's not even a competition! It's about making suggestions so a Committee can get a sense of which individual has the most resonance with the British public. It's not about who painted the best pictures - it's about which visual artists have captured people's imaginations and who are the British public most attached to - and why would they like to see them on their £20 notes.
Here's a couple of examples of what I mean:
- Major fire at Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art - the reaction to this was phenomenal - by people all over the world. Charles Rennie Mackintosh has an international reputation and"pulling power"
- Henry Moore Sculpture - a very poor precedent for public art - there was a huge outcry over the proposal by my local Mayor (since removed from office) to dispose of a Henry Moore Sculpture to help meet the need to cut budgets. Thankfully, it was proved that he had no legal basis for taking the decision!
Instead I'm one of those who encourage people to vote on the basis that very often people do genuinely come up with suggestions which surprise the art establishment! So......
Who do you think ought to be on the next £20 note?
First - Will you be voting? I'm going to make a suggestion but my long list is a bit too long at the moment!
Second - Which dead visual artist will you be nominating?
I'm going to start a long list below and will add to it as names get suggested.
The Long List
I've come up with some suggestions.
- Charles Rennie Mackintosh - see below under designer - he has the neat trick of covering three of the categories
|Charle Rennie Mackintosh|
- John Nash (interestingly there is no list of British architects (or UK or English) listed on Wikipedia in architects by nationality)
ArtistsUncontroversial artists who I would imagine might have a lot of support would include
- Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) – one of the few who is both an effective portrait and landscape painter - but I can't quite see him getting a groundswell of support
- Nicholas Hilliard - an interesting choice since the portrait on the note is in effect a miniature and he one of the most famous miniature painters. He's also one of the very few early English artists whose name is well known. I also rather like the idea of this self-portrait being used for the £20 note!
|Earliest selfportrait of Nicholas Hilliard 1577|
- JMW Turner - I should think would be a very popular choice - and no worse for that! His youthful self-portrait is also well-known and would make for a good portrait on a bank note.
|Self portrait by Turner c.1799|
- John Constable - another popular choice?
- Stanley Spencer - I should think that aspects of his marital life and unconventional perspective on religion might be a bit of a problem - and put him out of the running.
|Stanley Spencer - self portrait 1914|
This is the face of the man who painted all those memorable 1st World War paintings
see 'Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War' at Somerset House
I immediately thought of Grayson Perry - but he'd have to meet an unfortunate end very quickly to make him eligible! Anyway here goes with the rest....
- Josiah Wedgewood - this is a man who not only founded a very famous British pottery company which exported all over the world. He is also responsible for the industrialisation of the manufacture of pottery. I would have thought he's got to be in the running. His image could also be characterised as if it was a ceramic Wedgewood bust or miniature.
|Bust of Josiah Wedgwood |
completed in 1864 by Giovanni Fontana (1821-1893),
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England
- Bernard Leach - a possibility but he doesn't quite have the weight of credentials or popularity behind him - and his face is unknown
- William Morris - his socialist credentials might put him out of the running re. the uncontroversial front
|Portrait of William Morris, aged 53|
- Charles Rennie Mackintosh (again) - a very familiar image and, I would imagine, a very popular choice. He is, of course also an architect and a crafts person.
- Alexander McQueen - one of the very few to have the weight to compete - but maybe a bit too recent?
- David Lean springs to mind - and he has a very chiselled face which would be both recognisable and look good on a bank note.
- Eadweard Muybridge - a face that is totally unknown of a photographer who is very well known. He pioneered studies of motion. However is he uncontroversial given the fact that he shot and killed his wife's lover, but was acquitted in a jury trial on the grounds of justifiable homicide.
|Sequences by Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) |
of himself throwing a disk, using a step, and walking
- William Hogarth - English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist. He has the advantage of covering a number of bases like Mackintosh - however I always think of him as a printmaker. Of course if this protrait were to be used, it would also win over the dog lobby!